This term was mentioned in a slide and when I looked online, the only thing which I could find talking about this is this paper.
For example,in the cost-plus-incentive contract
$$x(T, c) = a(T) - a'(T) × (T-c)$$
where $x$ is the contractor's fee, $T$ is the cost target, $c$ is a verifiable cost; $a(T)$ is decreasing and convex.
I was told that with smaller $T$ and hence higher $a(T)$ and $-a'(T)$, the incentive contract is steeper. Is the steepness represented by $-a'(T)$? What exactly is the interpretation of steepness of incentive contract? Does it mean more risk for the contractor? If this is the case, am I correct that the decreasing $a(T)$ motivates the contractor to take a smaller T? How is it translated to incentive constraint? That high-cost contractor would not recklessly take a small T?